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Stunning Rejection of Scientific Values of Transparency and Skepticism at New England Journal of Medicine

Outside researchers might "even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited."

BrokenScienceImageJason KeislingThe headline is taken from a dismayed tweet from prominent open science advocate Brian Nosek. University of Virginia psychologist Nosek is the co-founder of the Center for Open Science. He was also the team leader for the massive project that sought to replicate 100 psychological studies taken from leading journals. The researchers reported in Science that only about one-third of the results from the selected studies could be reproduced.

Nosek is one of the sources I rely upon in my Reason feature article, "Broken Science," in which I analyze the crisis of scientific irreproducibility and some of the solutions that are even now being implemented to address it.

So what provoked Nosek's tweet? The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has just published an editorial on "Data Sharing" that actually wants to limit data sharing. Why? The most distressing observation from the editorial is that requiring that investigators share their data might mean that other researchers could "even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited." The bastards!

From the editorial:

NEJMcoverNEJMThe aerial view of the concept of data sharing is beautiful. What could be better than having high-quality information carefully reexamined for the possibility that new nuggets of useful data are lying there, previously unseen? The potential for leveraging existing results for even more benefit pays appropriate increased tribute to the patients who put themselves at risk to generate the data. The moral imperative to honor their collective sacrifice is the trump card that takes this trick.

However, many of us who have actually conducted clinical research, managed clinical studies and data collection and analysis, and curated data sets have concerns about the details. The first concern is that someone not involved in the generation and collection of the data may not understand the choices made in defining the parameters. Special problems arise if data are to be combined from independent studies and considered comparable. How heterogeneous were the study populations? Were the eligibility criteria the same? Can it be assumed that the differences in study populations, data collection and analysis, and treatments, both protocol-specified and unspecified, can be ignored?

A second concern held by some is that a new class of research person will emerge — people who had nothing to do with the design and execution of the study but use another group’s data for their own ends, possibly stealing from the research productivity planned by the data gatherers, or even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited. There is concern among some front-line researchers that the system will be taken over by what some researchers have characterized as “research parasites.”

The concept of data sharing is not just beautiful; it is an essential aspect of doing science.

As I report in "Broken Science," this is not the first time that NEJM's editor Jeffrey Drazen has discounted the issue of scientific replicability. He basically rejected the findings made by Stanford University statistician John Ioannidis in his 2005 seminal article, "Why Most Published Research Findings are False." As I noted:

Initially, some researchers argued that Ioannidis' claims were significantly overstated. "We don't think the system is broken and needs to be overhauled," declared New England Journal of Medicine editor Jeffrey Drazen in The Boston Globe in 2005.

Evidently, Drazen hasn't changed his mind even as evidence has continued to pile up over the past 10 years that researchers are massively producing and publishing false positives.

If NEJM's editors are afraid that other researchers won't understand the choices, procedures, and parameters made by the original researchers, Nosek's Center for Open Science has a solution—use its Open Science Framework.

The Open Science Framework is organized around a free, open-source Web platform that supports research project management, collaboration, and the permanent archiving of scientific workflow and output. The OSF makes it easier to replicate studies because outside researchers can see and retrace the steps taken by the original scientific team.

It should go without saying that "research parasitism" is wrong. Researchers who use the results produced by other investigators should fully acknowledge that fact and give them credit when they publish their additional findings. But the lack of replication and the proliferation of false results in the scientific literature is a far bigger problem than "research parasitism."

Bottom line: Nosek is right to be dismayed by NEJM's rejection of scientific transparency and skepticism. Let's hope that the editors will rethink this step backward toward research secrecy sooner rather than later.

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  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Wow. Just wow.

    "even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited"

    These are the people who are trying to drive public policy.

  • Lee G||

    This is it in a nutshell. How can they drive public policy when someone is questioning their results? Those skeptics are really annoying when you're trying to push your latest public health initiative.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I'll never get back those 25 years of not eating eggs and butter.

  • ||

    Aren't you making up for it now?

    By the way, how is the searzall?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I unscrewed the vortex tip to use the flame spreader, and now I can't find it. That's the part that the Searzall attaches to.

    So it's just sitting on the shelf, teasing me.

  • ||

    Get to Lowe's and get another tip.

    Why do,you,need the vortex tip anyway? That seems redundant.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    The vortex tip (the one that comes stock on all of the torches) is what fits into the searzall. I'm looking online, and they don't seem to sell it by itself. This is going to cost me.

  • commodious spittoon||

    What, someone's too good for the weed torch?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I'm not too good for a weed torch, but my USDA Prime Angus 28 day dry aged rib eyes are.

    They need this.

    Not pictured: me.

  • ||

    Also, what is Nick Gillespie's clean-cut brother doing searing a steak?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I just hope it's corn fed.

  • ||

    ::spit take::

    Well played, FdA. Well fucking played.

  • ||

    You can solder a larger tip onto it that the searzall will fit using your butane torch, I bet. The vortex is useless once the flame hits the searzall guts anyway.

    Go to Lowe's and get a reducer and some soldering wire. And hurry up. I want to make sure yours is worth it before I take the plunge.

  • But Enough About Me||

    Damn it.

    I never knew this thing existed. Gots to get me one, NOW. Gots to!

    {furiously checks Canadian websites}

    Aw, crap. $121.50 CDN on Amazon.ca.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I know you used a small s in the word skeptic, but we may need a new word to replace skeptic. The Skeptic movement is all about open data when pursuing favorite punching bags like homeopathy or the anti-vax crowd, but is very much about protecting the priesthood when it comes to sacred topics like global warming.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    ^THIS IN COSMOLOGICAL ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE^

  • ||

    I'm not in favor of giving those assholes the word "skeptic" for all time.

  • commodious spittoon||

    Just embrace denier, Nikki. You are a science denier.

  • Microaggressor||

    If what the NEJM is doing is called science, then I'd be glad to be a denier. Maybe we need a new word for discovering facts. Something like "scientific method-adhering science".

  • commodious spittoon||

    Science isn't a process any more, man. It's a feeling, a tingly sense of moral righteousness that sends thrills up your spine.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    No, it's a guild.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Hey, all those guys at NEJM have the approval of the Scientists Union. Are you a paid up member? No? Then shut the hell up. Only fully paid up member of the Scientists Union do science!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Something like "scientific method-adhering science".

    A stamp on the cover of applicable research papers?:

    "All research contained within, done in accordance with the scientific method."

  • JW||

    All the cool kids are doing Lysenkoism today.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    "The moral imperative to honor their collective sacrifice is the trump card that takes this trick."

    dog whistle alert

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You want to pick up the word after it got PZ scum all over it?

  • commodious spittoon||

    Is Myers a cynical prick who harnessed a movement to promote himself or does he actually buy his smarmy ideology? Watson is without a doubt a true believer, but Myers seems like a quisling who saw the way the wind was blowing and unfurled his sails.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Is Myers a cynical prick who harnessed a movement to promote himself or does he actually buy his smarmy ideology?

    Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    I'm not in favor of giving those assholes the word "skeptic" for all time.

    "Liberal" was stolen long ago; perhaps "skeptic" is next for cultural appropriation by the collective.

  • Lee G||

    Heathen?

  • Agammamon||

    Its the difference between Libertarian and libertarian. The former is the *party* and all that that implies, the latter is just the core philosophy without worrying about either electability or the crazies that glom on to any anti-establishment group.

    I'm libertarian but not Libertarian and I'm a skeptic, but not a Skeptic.

  • cavalier973||

    I'm a member of the Skeptic party...we have a guy running for President this year, but I'm just not buying what he's telling us.

  • Bubba Jones||

    MDs are don't want Pharma to know how crappy their clinical data really is. They saw the woodchipper we used on the preclinical bullshit they were peddling.

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    Someone might suggest we've been keeping low salt recommendations too low because we know in our hearts that they're right even though Europe has lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease for people on low salt diets even though their low salt recommendations are higher.

  • R C Dean||

    use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited

    That may be the best short description of the scientific method I have ever seen.

  • kinnath||

    "even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited"

    Yes, you stupid cunt. This is the foundation of the scientific method.

  • kinnath||

    It is staggering how bad things have become in my lifetime. The intimate relationship between 'public' science and public policy making is destroying the integrity of both.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Organizations like CSPI have no concept of science whatsoever, they just misinterpret research, conduct non-scientific tests of their own, and produce a non-science-based political agenda.

    But CSPI and their ilk should be mercilessly attacked for the ass clowns they are, slapping IP protection on research because you think everyone is an ass clown is the exact same non-scientific ass clonwery.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Bottom line:

    If you are unwilling to make your data available to scrutiny, what you're doing ain't science.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    This is where a lot of the climate science controversy comes in. Making your data, research and conclusions available for others is "PEER REVIEW." Which is of course a big talking point, now we have NEJM saying that the process isn't science?

  • Foo_dd||

    yup. that is probably the biggest problem with most modern research... it has an agenda..... very little research is done today with the intent of actually learning something new.... most of it is attempting to validate the researcher's preconceptions.

  • Jerryskids||

    I don't know whether to believe I've just awoken from a coma and today is April first or if you just haven't had enough coffee yet and haven't figured out you've been reading the Onion. I'm just not strong enough to consider the possibility that the NEJM just came out as an opponent of science.

  • Lee G||

    Doctors and public health officials are joined at the hip these days. Everything's about statistical improvements in quality of life by using government mandates and regulations.

  • ||

    Isn't that how the Liverpool Care Pathway came to be?

  • Lee G||

    That's interesting, and disturbing.

  • ||

    Hang onto that the next time you come across a retard that thinks single payer is the way to go.

  • BigT||

    Hospice, UK govt style.

    Now discredited, the LCP was widely abused as a 'tick box exercise', with patients being casually assessed as terminal, heavily sedated, and denied water so the diagnosis became self-fulfilling. Hospitals were also provided cash incentives to achieve targets for the number of patients dying on the LCP
  • toolkien||

    Well, my father passed away about 13 years ago, heart issues and diabetic issues (insides were disintegrating). He was terminal, but spent a week in cardio-intensive care at probably $100,000. Eventually a nurse came by, my dad had been unresponsive for several days, and she upped the morphine drip. Then again. Then again. Dad was gone in less than an hour. No doubt he was effectively euthanized at that point.

    The upshot? I don't know. But there certainly is no one "great system" when we've gone from dying at home in your own bed method to an ungodly expensive set of machines and tubes that keep the flesh alive. When/how do you allocate? Tricky, but perhaps the "human rights" versus "individual rights" comparison and contrast can be a start, as well as people being more philosophical about the inevitability of death. Too many people seem to think they have a "human" right to exist forever, and if they don't, it's a conspiracy against them because they couldn't commandeer everyone else's wealth in their quest.

  • Illocust||

    Transparency, if you aren't going to pay for my continued survival you damn well tell me or my designated decision maker. You don't get to sneakily up my pain medication until I die (I'll make exception for areas where euthanasia is illegal and the family or patient has made it clear that they are ready to die). That's fucking murder.

  • Harvard||

    Their both fucking murder, wordsmith.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    LCP: Bring Out Your Dead

    They used Monty Python And The Holy Grail as a training video.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    Jebus, Onion was my first thought too. I guess the narrative is the most important part of science after all.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Turns out that clinicians aren't scientists.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    This is insane.

    "This issue of the Journal offers a product of data sharing that is exactly the opposite. The new investigators arrived on the scene with their own ideas and worked symbiotically, rather than parasitically, with the investigators holding the data, moving the field forward in a way that neither group could have done on its own."

    So the only time engaging in replicability is okay is if you work hand in glove, or "symbiotically" with the original researchers? That's like textbook conflict of interest.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    "How would data sharing work best? We think it should happen symbiotically, not parasitically. Start with a novel idea, one that is not an obvious extension of the reported work. Second, identify potential collaborators whose collected data may be useful in assessing the hypothesis and propose a collaboration. Third, work together to test the new hypothesis. Fourth, report the new findings with relevant coauthorship to acknowledge both the group that proposed the new idea and the investigative group that accrued the data that allowed it to be tested. What is learned may be beautiful even when seen from close up."

    Again - this is opposed to independent verification. The only way you're supposed to use someone's data is if you work directly with them, which of course gives them an opportunity to influence the test design in favor of their original findings. It would make discovering scientific fraud virtually impossible.

  • ||

    Well, and if you work directly with them on some other problem. You aren't even allowed to work directly with them to verify the original hypothesis.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    The only way you're supposed to use someone's data is if you work directly with them,

    They're so used to the FDA operating this way they don't even know they're corrupt.

  • commodious spittoon||

    That's like textbook conflict of interest.

    More like a conflict of incest.

  • Bubba Jones||

    The key is that the original authors get to be authors on any subsequent publications. They also get to block anything that might embarrass them.

    WIN WIN

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Maybe I'm late to the party in noticing this, but is everybody an activist these days?

    I expect activism in environmental and social sciences, but it sucks that it has infected the field of medicine without so much as a peep.

    I pretty much fall asleep to Nova on PBS (damn you Koch brothers!!!) every night, and the most recent episode illustrates this perfectly. About 50 "scientists" go down to the Antarctic to solve the krill "problem". What's the problem? They don't know, other that it's a big problem that must be stopped because climate change. No data, no research, no hypothesis. Just feelz.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    "is everybody an activist these days"

    Yes.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The only activism in my research is the goal of getting the dean to agree to a reduced course load.

    And bitches, always bitches.

  • commodious spittoon||

    They be trifling, I hear.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • commodious spittoon||

    I like the concept of a woman.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    A few years back there was a bit of a panic over a section of Antarctic ice that was melting, it seemed, at a rate that could not be explained. Global warming of course was the answer to be found, except that when someone actually went and looked, there was a volcano under there heating it from below. Haven't heard a word about that one since.

  • The Last American Hero||

    No doubt global warming caused the volcano to erupt.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    ...and the Haiti earthquake. - Danny Glover.

  • Sevo||

    BTW, do we as yet have any base-line data on polar bear populations so we can track their 'extinction'?

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    There's an obtuse relationship between science and reality on that one. Probably best to ask a local.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

  • The Last American Hero||

    When the government increases in size and scope and reach, it is inevitable that everybody becomes an activist. The only way to attract funding is to appeal to the emotion of those who control the purse.

  • commodious spittoon||

    Activists and lobbyist. Everyone is everyone else's business. Libertarians are called atomistic because we favors a hands-off approach to public policy, when in reality progressives and conservatives both want a society in which everyone throttles one another. But somehow ours is the political party of social Darwinism.

  • Sevo||

    Plàya Manhattan.|1.22.16 @ 11:50AM|#
    "Maybe I'm late to the party in noticing this, but is everybody an activist these days?"

    I'm finding it hard to ignore in places where it seemed it formerly wasn't, but I'm also subject to 'old-fart-ism', so confirmation bias might figure into it.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    It's definitely spreading.

    I think I really took notice for the first time when my pediatrician told me that he was required to ask me how many guns I had and if they were locked up.

  • Sevo||

    (*light goes on*)
    Hmm, the Kaiser med center in the middle of town features a Wednesday veggie market for 'locally grown, organic, *healthy* food' (which means you can't find parking to see your doc).
    Bullshit. Locally grown is so much signalling for 'no fossil fuel' and it's a lie besides. And there is zero evidence that 'organic' is healthier at all and in fact, there was a recent 'study' (forgive, please) that suggested it was the opposite.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    my pediatrician told me that he was required to ask me how many guns I had and if they were locked up.

    Dozens. All except this one.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I think I really took notice for the first time when my pediatrician told me that he was required to ask me how many guns I had and if they were locked up.

    I hope your answer was...

    Fuck off!

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    In a nice way, yes.

    I also told him my pool was unfenced, I have live wires hanging out of the walls, and I keep my rat poison in a Flintstone's vitamin jar.

  • BigT||

    Doc: Frankie, how many guns do you have?

    FdA: You mean on me?

  • ||

    We all know you're an emotional child (much like the rest of us), but I think it's time to stop seeing a pediatrician, don't you?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Where else would I get my ritalin?

  • DesigNate||

    Admit it, it's because she's smoking hot right?

  • ||

    When have doctors not been activists? I mean, the entirety of anti-smoking campaigning is medical activism.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    but is everybody an activist these days?

    Yes, beats work and productivity.

  • Alcibiades||

    We were told "it's not really science until someone, following the information and protocols in your paper, replicates your
    results".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It should go without saying that "research parasitism" is wrong. Researchers who use the results produced by other investigators should fully acknowledge that fact and give them credit when they publish their additional findings. But the lack of replication and the proliferation of false results in the scientific literature is a far bigger problem than "research parasitism."

    I don't even know what the phrase "research parasitism" is intended to mean. The work done to replicate results is just as valuable scholarship as the work done when finding novel results. I understand that novel findings are considered to be more sexy than replication, but that's a problem within the culture at research universities in need of being addressed...not in need of being entrenched further!

  • ||

    This.

    Sounds to me like the "research parasites" are just, you know, people who haven't become actual parasites getting government grants and university sugar to fund their pet projects, but people doing the yeoman's work of science.

  • Lee G||

    Bloggers

  • commodious spittoon||

  • BigT||

    Nosek is right to be dismayed by NEJM's rejection of scientific transparency and skepticism. Let's hope that the editors will rethink this step backward toward research secrecy sooner rather than later.

    Many on Reason have argued against IP protection of patents. But what Ron is worrying about - research secrecy - is precisely what happens in industry in the absence of IP protections. Hell, even with patents research is often kept as secret as possible, not by leaving out the useful information [an inventor has a legal obligation to disclosure the best mode], but by burying the useful info in a haystack of useless info. Without patent protection all of the information would remain secret so it could not be used or evaluated by others. Furthermore there would be a huge growth in industrial espionage, which is already problematic in some parts of the world [cough, China, cough].

    At lease in my industry - chemicals, energy, materials - IP serves a very useful function to encourage innovation. People work very hard to devise alternate solutions to patented processes.

    I can't speak for the IT industry. Maybe that type of innovation needs a different scheme.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But what Ron is worrying about - research secrecy - is precisely what happens in industry in the absence of IP protections.

    Are you speaking of the individual researcher or the institution? From what I've seen, academic institutions fiercely protect their IP. (e.g., what's going on with CRISPR)

  • BigT||

    In industry research is typically carried out by small teams. Among different teams the sharing of information can be excellent or lousy. Sharing information outside the company without permission is generally forbidden by Non-disclosure agreements. IP departments solicit and closely monitor R&D for new inventions.

    Most academics I know are more free with information, but over the past 20 years have become much more aware of IP possibilities due to University involvement. Some schools saw hugely profitable inventions get lost and have become protective, often over-protective. It is an impediment at some schools.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Some schools saw hugely profitable inventions get lost and have become protective, often over-protective. It is an impediment at some schools.

    Gotcha. I agree.

  • Ron Bailey||

    BigT: Reason is a big tent. Broadly speaking, I very much favor patents for physical items and am totally against software and business method patents.

  • Ron Bailey||

    As I have explained: Patents also constitute a disclosure mechanism in which inventors are awarded exclusive use of their inventions for 20 years in exchange for clearly revealing to the rest of us how they are made, thus avoiding a world pervaded with trade secrets.

  • sarcasmic||

    Not only that, but by clearly revealing to the rest of us how they are made, that allows for people to improve upon the inventions.

  • Jerryskids||

    "Scientific research" versus "product development". If the reason you're doing research is for personal gain whether that be a bigger lab, a book contract, something you can sell at Walmart or something you can hang on the wall as a validation of your greatness that's fine, nothing wrong with taking steps to keep other people from stealing your big idea before you've had a chance to cash in on it. But don't pretend you're not engaged in product development.

    Scientific research is more expanding the stock of human knowledge for the sake of expanding the stock of human knowledge. You don't care what the answer is because the answer itself is important and not that it leads to fame and glory. In order to know that you have answered the question correctly, you have to let somebody else check your work. There should be a fundamental scepticism when you think you've found something new - maybe I'm wrong, overlooking something, just seeing things - and just as you can't depend on a crazy person to know if he's crazy or an idiot to know if he's an idiot, a scientist knows he has a bias toward wanting to find something new and he can't depend on his own judgement to determine if he has.

    "Getting it right" and "reaping the rewards of getting it right" are at odds with one another. If you favor secrecy more than checking your work is it fair to assume you've either got a profit motive involved or that you're just not properly sceptical of your own impartiality?

  • BigT||

    "Getting it right" and "reaping the rewards of getting it right" are at odds with one another.

    Not at all.

    I was developing a material that had to withstand some severe conditions and perform a specific function. In order to understand how it expanded or contracted with the environment we did some neutron diffraction work on several materials under a wide range of extreme conditions. We obtained the first ever data on this phenomenon. Was that scientific research? In the end it was aimed at a product, so was it product development? It was both.

    We had to 'get it right' and understand the system in order to reap the rewards.

    There should be a fundamental scepticism when you think you've found something new

    Couldn't agree more. My motto has been: Be your own best critic (because otherwise someone else will be). To check validity, one can have others replicate one's results, or, in my line of work, we repeat experiments several times and discuss the results with colleagues.

    Another motto I've drilled into my subordinates heads: We are in the failure game - since 99% of the experiments are not winners. So fail fast, and fail cheap, and learn from your failures.

  • ||

    Half of the people on here ain't gonna like that.

    -The other half of the people on here

  • Rasilio||

    Most of us anti IP guys can live with short lived (10 years, renewable to 20 years or the life of the inventor, whichever is less, and ownership of the patent cannot be transferred to a corporate entity, it must remain held with a physical person, however they can grant exclusive license) patents for physical objects.

    If it copyright that lasts 120 years and ip over non physical inventions like software and business processes that we take the biggest umbrage with.

  • KDN||

    I don't have any objection to the patenting of software as individual applications, i.e. MS Excel 2010. That is an actual product that can be sold on its own merits, though where you draw the line is a subject for a judge and jury to figure out. I do have problem with patenting specific lines of code or individual menu layouts, things of that nature. That's akin to suing someone for making a ham sandwich.

    The timeframes are too long, though. 10 years and renewable for the life of the inventor(s) seems right to me.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    research secrecy - is precisely what happens in industry in the absence of IP protections

    Bullshit.

    Most research SHOULD be secret BECAUSE it is incomplete. Instead, they publish results: "Looky here. I think I mighta found sumpthin' but I'm gonna need millions moar dollars and many years to really know for sure. And I'm calling squatter's rights right no so no other motherfuckers can do further research because I'd be butthurt if someone else got a patent because I'm a greedy cocksucker."

  • kbolino||

    What "absence of IP protections" would that be?

  • Bubba Jones||

    Yeah. We patent 4 billion compounds so you don't know which one actually works.

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    Also, buried in this argument is the idea that "scientific data," also known as, you know, facts, are owned by the person who first compiles them. That's a ridiculous perversion of the concept of intellectual property.

  • Jerryskids||

    I think also buried in there is the idea of shifting the burden of proof. You say you found something new? Prove it. Screw you, prove that I didn't.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Owned by people who were paid BY THE GOVERNMENT to compile them.

    WTF

  • John||

    The first concern is that someone not involved in the generation and collection of the data may not understand the choices made in defining the parameters.

    If your published work doesn't explain that and make it clear, the problem is with you and your work not the reader.

    Special problems arise if data are to be combined from independent studies and considered comparable.

    Yeah, that is what the rational world calls doing research. Of course there are special problems. And your job is to solve them.

    A second concern held by some is that a new class of research person will emerge — people who had nothing to do with the design and execution of the study but use another group’s data for their own ends, possibly stealing from the research productivity planned by the data gatherers, or even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited.

    I am just a dumb lawyer. So any of you science guys feel free to correct me. But isn't trying to reproduce someone else's conclusions with their data essential to the scientific method?

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    It is the scientific method. The scientific method is nothing but testing and retesting.

  • John||

    We really are retreating into a new dark ages. I don't know how else to see this.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Bullshit. The scientific method is about building consensus to promote an agenda.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Bullshit. The scientific method is about building consensus to promote an agenda.

    Beware Poe's law.

  • JWatts||

    I think we're at least 4 to 5 years before his statement becomes subject to Poe's Law. Assuming the current trends don't get worse.

  • Lee G||

    But isn't trying to reproduce someone else's conclusions with their data essential to the scientific method?

    Not according to Lysenko

  • Citizen X||

    Fucking science, how does it work?

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Steven Pinker ‏@sapinker

    Irony: Replicability crisis in psych DOESN'T apply to IQ: huge n's, replicable results. But people hate the message.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Steven Pinker @sapinker

    Irony: Replicability crisis in psych DOESN'T apply to IQ: huge n's, replicable results. But people hate the message.

  • Sevo||

    "17 amusing squirrel photos for National Squirrel Day"
    http://www.sfgate.com/national.....774765.php

  • JWatts||

    Photo 11 looks like bad news for the Squirrel. Apparently not even the smoking carcass remains.

  • Harvard||

    Not one exposed breast. Total waste of time.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I see what you did there via reproduction...

  • Spartacus||

    Special problems arise if data are to be combined from independent studies and considered comparable. How heterogeneous were the study populations? Were the eligibility criteria the same? Can it be assumed that the differences in study populations, data collection and analysis, and treatments, both protocol-specified and unspecified, can be ignored?

    If only they worried as much about these questions whenever some public health professor wants to heap together a bunch of studies into a meta-analysis to prove his or her pet crisis.

  • ||

    Hey Ron, since the purveyors of the climate change snake oil refuse to release the raw data sets and their methodology that justifies the "adjusting" of that raw data, how do you still not view climate change as anything but fraudulent?

    Also, they're doing the same shit with refusing to publish peer reviews that are skeptical of their findings that use the available raw data and even go so far as to try and discredit those studies prior to even seeing them...yet you still eat the horseshit they're shoveling into your mouth.

  • Ra's al Gore||

    Are you trying to get Ron uninvited to cocktail parties?

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    The moral imperative to honor their collective sacrifice

    ... Is a complete bunch of bullshit. "Collective sacrifice" is just a bald-faced lie. The people doing the initial research all got paid, so they made no sacrifice. And if they got funded from the public teat the sacrifice was made by every taxpayer, which means the results are a public good and you can go fuck yourself if you think you are entitled to copyright/IP protection.

  • John||

    And even if they made a sacrifice, what difference does that make? Is bad research supposed to go unchallenged because challenging it would be mean to the poor researchers who made such a sacrifice producing the bad research?

    These people are fucking insane.

  • Lee G||

    Mengele totally sacrificed to get his data.

  • John||

    Aren't we disrespecting the sacrifice of thousands of race theorists when we question the existence of inferior races of people?

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Well they are M.D.'s - a class of people with a higher sense of entitlement than the worst welfare mothers.

  • ||

    Perhaps it's a by-product of the "everybody deserves a participation trophy" dumbasses taking over most social institutions.

  • John||

    It must be. It makes me ashamed to be an American. How the hell did we become such ignorant pussies?

  • Free Market Socialist $park¥||

    We let women vote.

  • ace_m82||

    Government schooling didn't help.

  • Lorenzo Zoil||

    This is the same logic as teachers and cops deserve special thanks for their service and sacrifice. Fuck you, you're getting paid to do it, and in some cases are being grossly over paid.

  • sarcasmic||

    The original researchers had good intentions! How dare anyone question the results of their research? To do so is to insult their good intentions! Only people with bad intentions do things like that! So anything that contradicts this research must be born of bad intentions, and therefore must be treated with contempt! That's how fucking science works you morons! Intentions are what matters! No one care about the work of people with bad intentions! Why should they? Besides, the people with good intentions voted! There's a consensus! How dare you question the consensus? You must have bad intentions! You're anti-science! Science denier! Science denier! Science denier!

  • Flemur||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    We heard you the first time.

  • commodious spittoon||

  • Free Market Socialist $park¥||

    Is this real irony or the thing that people ironically call irony?

  • kbolino||

    What is "the message"?

    I've yet to see anybody, either who accepts "the message" or rejects it, who has anything of value to offer to the discussion.

  • ||

    Thanks for the hint.

  • ||

    Now we know what smart people during Middle Ages felt as they lived through the Dark Ages.

    It musta been like, 'wtf?' all the time.

  • Free Market Socialist $park¥||

    There was probably also a lot of "I like my head connected to my neck" thinking.

  • The Grinch||

    Come on people, do you really want to live in a world where medical research can be effectively peer reviewed?

  • ||

    Yeh you're right. WE NEED TO GET SHIT DONE.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Just when through this the last 8 days.

    Customer kind sorta thought about an enhancement to our software they might want in the future. Five years ago. We looked it over and had a few questions before we could start some initial design and rough estimates. No response. Guess it wasn't a priority for them.

    Six months ago it becomes a priority. We said "great! Can you get us answers to these questions?" Five months later they come back with different requirements and some different ideas. We had questions, they provided answers. Wanted a design and rough estimate in 3 days. Our staff said that was impossible, would need about 10, sales lied to the customer and said "3 days, no problem." Six days later we provided a weak design and very rough estimate and sales shit a brick (160 man days). Came back with some different suggestions and slightly revised requirements and wanted new estimates and design. IN TWO HOURS - GET THIS DONE.

    We Replied to sales two days later: New estimate: 158 days.
    Sales reply: NO way! We're gonna lose the customer.
    My reply to sales: If you knew they would only pay for a 60-day job, why did you withhold that requirement? Did you already know that wasn't going to get a good design and you just want to make me feel like I lost the customer when it was actually YOU that lost the customer. Let me know.

  • LynchPin1477||

    What could be better than having high-quality information carefully reexamined for the possibility that new nuggets of useful data are lying there, previously unseen?

    I fail to see what makes that different than the so-called "research parasites".

  • In League with the Dark Ones||

    or even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited

    OH MY GOD! SOMEONE MIGHT TRY TO DISPROVE SAMUEL CARTWRIGHT'S RESEARCH!

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Nullius in verba, mothafucka.

    That's the motto of hard science.

    Evidently, NEJM wants medicine to become another soft science.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    How New England Journal Of Medicine Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Patent Medicine.

  • ||

    Alright. Call it the Posmodern England Journal of Medicine.

  • Loki||

    ther researchers could "even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited."

    Well, duh! How do you build "consensus" - which everyone knows is the goal of "real science" - if every Tom, Dick, and Harry who wanted to could potentially disprove your hypotheses? Don't you know how science works? /sarc

  • Foo_dd||

    " or even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited. "

    this reminds me of a little debate i had with a gun control freak recently. he would post a link to some gun control hyped article... i would click on the link to the original study that grabber was basing their statements on... and then proceed to spell out to him how blatantly they were ignoring most of the information in the study, because it usually conflicted with the conclusion they wanted to reach. i bet he wished those articles didn't have to cite their sources.

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